Collector’s reaction to the ‘Very unique’ medal: ‘Saint [Expletive]’
– In 1839, the Philadelphia Mint created a single gold medal in honor of the courage shown by Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan in 1781 Battle of Cowpens. The medal was minted to replace the original given to Morgan, after it was stolen in an 1818 robbery from a Pittsburgh bank, where it had been kept in a safe. The newly minted medal, based on the original design by French engraver Augustin Dupré, remained in Morgan’s family until 1885, but then disappeared, and many speculated that it had been lost or melted down. That is, until a South Carolina coin and medal collector was recently asked to authenticate a gold medal brought to him by an auction house. When he opened the medal case, he was amazed. “My reaction was somewhere along the lines of ‘holy [expletive]'” Kraljevich said, according to a CBS News/AP report. “As soon as I laid eyes on it, I knew what it was.”
Replicas and copies of the medal were made in the years after the 1839 version disappeared, resulting in what Kraljevich calls “red herring” finds of the Morgan Medal. But the medal that showed up in his shop was different, snug in its original red leather case with a “crushed purple velvet interior”, per Stack Bowers Galleries, who is now putting the medal up for auction. The golden front of the medal shows Morgan leading his troops on horseback against the British, while the reverse depicts a Native American woman bestowing a laurel wreath on Morgan. Kraljevich said the medal – which was awarded to Morgan for his victory in battle on January 17, 1781, a significant factor in “the eventual defeat of the British at the siege of Yorktown,” according to CBS – has been authenticated by a third party and is in “immaculate” condition.
He notes the medal, one of 133 medals in the Comitia Americana Series created between 1776 and the beginning of the 19th century to highlight the turning points of the War of Independence – reappeared after being consigned anonymously to the auction house. stack of lists the current bid for the ‘quite unique’ medal at $150,000 as of early Monday afternoon, although auction organizers predict it could end between $250,000 and $500,000 . “Offered, here, at auction for the very first time, a majestic golden testament to the debt owed to this nation’s earliest military heroes and the efforts to honor their legacy,” the site notes. (Read more Revolutionary War stories.)